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Gear We Love: Mountek car mounts make your CD player useful again

Dan Frakes | Aug. 6, 2014
There's a lot of gear out there for your Apple devices, but how do you know which are worth your time and what's not worth your money? In our Gear We Love column, Macworld's editors tell you about the products we're personally using--and loving.

The side of the cradle that supports the bottom of your phone sports a useful cutout for removing the phone without disconnecting any power or audio cables. (This bottom ledge is also removable if you don't like it.) The cradle can also tilt in any direction, but not a huge amount — my only real complaint about the cradle is that I wish I could tilt it a bit more, so I could get a slightly better viewing angle in my car.

Compared to its predecessor — the model I purchased a couple years ago — the new nGroove Grip features an improved cradle and a smaller knob, the latter reducing the chance that the knob will obstruct other dashboard controls. (More on that below.)

nGroove Snap 2

Instead of the Grip's bulky cradle, the Snap 2 uses a small, square, magnetic pad on the same sort of tilt/swivel ball joint. You attach a thin, metal plate to the back of your phone or phone case, and that plate secures your phone to the mount. Mountek includes two plates, one slightly thicker than the other. The company says that the thinner (.25mm) plate is for use with smartphones, while the thicker (.55mm) plate is for use with small tablets, but I found that the thicker plate also works well if you place it inside the back of a thin iPhone case, letting you use the Snap 2 without having to adhere anything to your phone. (For the record, I didn't test the Snap 2 with a tablet.)

Of course, if you're using your iPhone without a case these days, as I am, you'll need to stick a plate on the back of your phone. I initially thought this would be a deal breaker for me, as I've always been loath to use adhesive to attach things to my gear. But after doing just that and subsequently testing the Snap 2 for over a month, I'm a convert. The metal plate is thin and light enough that I barely even notice it's there; and other than the unnecessary logo, it doesn't look terrible, either. More important, I love being able to casually hold my phone near the mount and have it stick instantly and securely. Removing the phone from the mount is just as easy — just a gentle tug is all it takes to overcome the magnetic attachment.

Interestingly, the Snap 2 also features a standard threaded mount point, so you can use it to hold your phone on a tripod for taking photos and video; and if you expand the mount's blade completely, the Snap 2 can even serve as a desktop stand.

 

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